Part 4: The Fourth Joyfull Mystery, the Presentation

Part 4 of a 15 part series on the Holy Rosary.

The fourth joyful mystery: The Presentation.

Proud parents going to the Temple to make a cleansing sacrifice. A new-born Child dictates such a sacrifice according to the law of Moses. A sin offering meant to cleanse, to remove, to blot out sin. But here there was no sin. The Blessed Virgin, the Childs only truly human parent according to the flesh, was born without the stain of original sin in order to make her a fitting vessel, a Holy Ark meant to contain the Word of God. And she had kept her vessel clean. She was everything Eve was meant to be and wasn’t. Holiness IS possible when we co-operate with God’s perfect will. And what of Joseph? There was no sin on his part in any of this. On the contrary, he was nothing less than obedient to God. And the Child? No guilt nor stain of guilt was with Him nor ever would be. So why the sin offering? Simple. The people around them knew none of the above. To not offer sacrifice would have scandalized these. The answer? Just do the next right thing, even when it’s not strictly necessary. The result? The giving of Joy, the Joy Child, to both Simeon and Anna. Two pious Jews waiting all their lives to just glimpse the Promised One. Doing the next right thing even when I don’t have to, even when according to the law there is no real reason because there is no sin whether others know it or not, brings what into the world? Into the life of others? Maybe nothing. Maybe great joy. Maybe an example that shows them Jesus. Maybe Jesus.

Prayer: Mother Mary, please help me do the next right thing for love of Jesus.

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Published in: on March 31, 2012 at 8:35 pm  Comments Off on Part 4: The Fourth Joyfull Mystery, the Presentation  
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On Spiritual Gifts

Peter said that Paul wrote some things that were hard to understand and that there were people who twisted these things to their own detriment. See 2 Peter 3:15-16. Personal opinion here: Spiritual gifts might well be one of the things he is in reference to. In 1 Cor. 12:4-11 Paul lists certain gifts. He doesn’t say the list is exhaustive and as God is infinite and omnipotent I’m sure His list could go on forever. Given this list I think it’s fairly obvious that these gifts are given for the betterment of His Body, the Church. The Church is a body of individuals. See 1 Cor. 12:13-26 for info concerning the individual noses and ears and such. So for a gift to better the Church it would help either the Church as a whole or the Church in part. The “whole” is obvious, “in part” might be a diocese, parish, individual, and so forth. My point here is short and sweet, and, I think, might put an end to controversy concerning these gifts, at least in part, if folks would only think about it a little. Two examples will suffice. The gift of knowledge and the gift of tongues. A gift af knowledge might mean and could be that a person just suddenly “knows” certain things that they didn’t know before. This would be out of the ordinary and away from the norm which makes it a miraculous gift. A gift of knowledge could just as easily mean that a person has a God-given ability to study, understand, retain, and pass along acquired knowledge. (A note here: Paul calls it the “utterance of knowledge” which necessitates the ability to pass it along, while the attempt to pass it along in no way guarantees the reception of it by others.) This isn’t miraculous in the normal sense of the word but it’s still a gift. Now tongues, and all the rest of these gifts, could easily work the same way. In reading the Book of Acts its obvious that many people were suddenly able to speak in foreign languages without having been taught them. But a “gift of tongues” could very well be the God-given ability of, lets say, a missionary to learn a foreign tongue quickly and easily in order to minister effectively to others. Viewed in this way spiritual gifts ought never be considered odd or unnecessary or out dated or weird or necessarily miraculous although they can be. They come in different ways to different people for different reasons. Which brings me to my last quick and easy point: In 1 Cor. 12:31 Paul makes it clear that there are greater gifts (remember that the first list we read was not said to be exhaustive)Ā  and that these are the ones we should strive for the most. Read 1 Cor. 13. This in no way diminishes the importance of the others, it just puts them in proper perspective. These greater gifts are Faith, Hope, and Love. And the greatest of these is Love.

Published in: on March 30, 2012 at 5:43 pm  Comments Off on On Spiritual Gifts  
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From Brother Lawrence

“We cannot escape the dangers that abound in life without the actual and continual help of God. Let us, then, pray to him for it continually. How can we pray to Him without being with Him? How can we be with Him but in thinking of Him often? And how can we often think of Him but by a holy habit which we should form of it? You will tell me that I am always saying the same thing. It is true, for this is the best and easiest method I know; and as I use no other, I advise all the world to do it. We must know before we can love. In order to know God, we must often think of Him; and when we come to love Him, we shall also think of Him often, for our heart will be with our treasure. This is an argument which well deserves your consideration.” … Taken from the book, The Practice of the Presence of God, the ending paragraph of the ninth letter.

Published in: on March 29, 2012 at 7:04 pm  Comments Off on From Brother Lawrence  

Following the Immaculate

I read once that the Sacred Heart of Jesus could be defined by “everything He loves.” This made sense to me. But what of the Immaculate Heart of Mary? How might we define it? I think that a good definition of her Heart would be simply: A mother’s love. What a mother loves would be the next thought. Well, I’m sure that any natural mother would love her spouse and children first of all. Who is Mary’s spouse? God, the Holy Spirit is her Spouse. And who is her First Born? Jesus, God the Son. Obviously this mother, the Immaculate Heart, loves God first of all. Now we know that she has other children besides the One. The others are … Us. So she loves God first of all, and us next of all. Which means that the Immaculate Heart of Mary may be defined by two simple things. Love of God followed by love of neighbor. Her Heart is defined by the Two Greatest Commandments. So, I suppose, that if I am to follow her Immaculate Heart I must follow these. Truth is simple. “Simple” does not mean without depth, and it ought never to be confused with ease. In a nutshell to follow her Heart as per the Two Great Commandments is to follow her motherly advise, the only advise that scripture records, and the central theme of all her apparitions: “Do whatever He tells you.”

Published in: on March 28, 2012 at 8:08 am  Comments Off on Following the Immaculate  
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Spiritual Progress

I think that if we would commit to progress in our spiritual life there are really very few things needed, but these few are of the utmost importance. First of all we need to make up our minds to this end, make a firm commitment towards spiritual progress. If we turn back from the plow we are unworthy. Second, we ought not over burden ourselves with spiritual exercises. To much of anything is to lead an out of balance existence and this takes us no where positive. So we need to find that which is helpful to us. It ought not be a hard thing to do. There are really only a handful of things that matter most in the long run. Another good thing to do is pick one or two books, other than the Holy Bible and the catechism, that we can focus on repeatedly. This shouldn’t be to difficult either. The classics are few and well-known. The Imitation of Christ, Practising the Presence of God, and books of similar content. One that fits your bent so to speak. But don’t over do. The wisest man in the world wrote that there was no end to books. Our purpose isn’t to read all day and every book we can get our hands on. Our purpose is to love and serve God. Next should come a most important thing, the most important thing. Prayer. First of all pray for perseverance. Next pray with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, and when you assist at Mass, and about your confession, which ought to be no less than once a month or better yet every two weeks. Consider also one devotion that will always take you back to all of the above in meditation and by showing you marvelous examples that will keep your spirit lifted. The Rosary. Now consider what has been said. All in one short paragraph. It was simple and straight forward, wasn’t it? Go now and be the same.

Published in: on March 27, 2012 at 1:05 pm  Comments Off on Spiritual Progress  
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Part 3: The Third Joyful Mystery, the Nativity

Part 3 of a 15 part series on the mysteries of the Holy Rosary.

The third joyful mystery: The Nativity.

A mystery of many parts. A virgin gives birth to the King of kings and Lord of lords … in a lowly stable. Angels appear to shepherds, men thought little of by the standards of the day, and in chorus announce the coming of the Messiah. “You will find Him in a manger.” Eager to see they find the manger with the Babe, His Mother, and His foster-father. In my mind I imagine the shepherds standing around the manger, the Baby, smiling, gurgling, and reaching up to them like babies do when they want to be picked up. Reaching out to those He came for. The poor, the simple, the dirty, the little thought of, the passed over, the unimportant. But they aren’t unimportant to Him. They’re why He came. And He reaches out to them. A few days later another group of men arrive. Three well dressed, well-groomed, well fed, well-educated, wise men of importance and honesty. Eager to see they find the Christ Child by star light. And I imagine these men, in seeing the Babe, understanding at least in part Who and What He is, they see themselves as they are compared to the Glory of Him. Poor, simple, dirty, little thought of by way of honest humility. And I imagine the Babe reaching out for them. A smile, a coo, tiny hands not yet scared reaching out to those He came for. He came for those wise enough to recognize their own poverty. We are all beggars.

Prayer: Mother Mary, please help me to have a love for holy poverty, a detachment from the things of this world. Poverty of spirit, true humility. And a love for the poor.

Published in: on March 24, 2012 at 9:45 am  Comments Off on Part 3: The Third Joyful Mystery, the Nativity  
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Radio Maria

http://www.radiomaria.us … This is the URL for something wonderful. It is a portal. A portal through which you may access sound Catholic doctrine, uplifting sermons, very fine call in programs, a sincere spirit, truth, heart, light and the Love of Christ. Radio Maria, a Christian voice in your home, is one way, a very good and positive way, to bring Catholic culture into your home. Via Radio Maria you can experience in a fuller way the Church as a family in-home institution. You can take part in and support the culture of life. You can add to your Catholic experience, live your faith more fully, and be uplifted in mind and spirit. I am sort of homebound. Not totally but enough that at times, well, I need some relief. Radio Maria supplies me with that relief, with what I have come to consider a very personal experience. It is, in short, a real blessing. You can be blessed too. Tune in. Listen. Trust me, give it a chance. It will work. It works for me.

Pray for Radio Maria.

Dear Lord, please bless Radio Maria as this apostolate reaches out to people all over the world. Keep the people who work, support, and uphold Radio Maria in their prayers. Let this work for You bear much fruit for Your Kingdom and for Your greater glory, Your will being done in all things. Amen

Published in: on March 20, 2012 at 9:04 pm  Comments Off on Radio Maria  
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March 19 ā€“ Happy Saint Joseph’s Day!

March 19 ā€“ Saint Joseph, Martyr of Grandeur

 

The above link? Worth the trip. šŸ˜‰


Published in: on March 19, 2012 at 5:30 pm  Comments Off on March 19 ā€“ Happy Saint Joseph’s Day!  

“Hail, Mary”

Praying, “off the cuff”, one on one , is wonderful. Pouring out my heart, being filled in return with His Heart. Formulae prayers, those we learn and repeat, are wonderful communications as well. Communication is always a two way street. Or should be. I cringe whenever some one says, “I want to talk to you”. “To” me? Not “with” me? It sounds rather insulting. Is my input not wanted, no response asked for? Oh, well. Formulae prayers, the memorized prayers, can get like that if we let them. Lets not let them. If we truly think about what we say we will, #1: Learn from the prayer (this would/should be God talking with us). And #2: Pray with sincerity and not from rote (this should be/would be us talking with God). Note the primary word here … “with”. Conversation as it should be. True communication. So when I pray a prayer I’ve learned by heart I need to get my heart involved. I need to listen as much, or more, than I speak. And God will speak to me and my heart will be edified along with my mind. And I will be changed. Changed for the better. One prayer I might listen to now is one I say often. The Hail Mary. If I listen, what might I hear?

“Hail, Mary,” … Hello Mother … “full of grace,” … No room for sin … “the Lord is with you.” … If I’m in her company I am in His as well … “Blessed are you among women,” … My mother stands out, she is one of a kind … “and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus.” … She is my mother, she is His mother, and I am part of a family like no other … “Holy Mary,” … As mother of Jesus, with the very Word of God inside her, what else could she be? … “Mother of God,” … Jesus is identified for me by her … “pray for us sinners,” … Tells me my ranking in the family so that I don’t get confused, get proud, get ahead of myself, get ahead of you who are also a family member … “now and at the hour of our death.” … I ask for her prayers, for both me and you, now (and its always now) and when we die (because its all settled then and latter would be to late) … “Amen.” … Amen. I said it, I meant it, let it be this way.

I hear these things now. If I keep listening I bet I’ll hear more later.

Published in: on March 19, 2012 at 3:52 pm  Comments Off on “Hail, Mary”  
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Part 2: The Second Joyful Mystery, the Visitation

Part 2 of a 15 part series on the mysteries of the Holy Rosary.

The second joyful mystery: The Visitation.

God lets Mary know that her cousin Elizabeth, who is well past child-bearing age, is going to have a baby. This is a great joy. It is also a great responsibility. A responsibility for Elizabeth and her husband certainly, but also one for those about her that care. Mary cares. At once she leaves to go help Elizabeth, to be supportive, to be there for her. I may think this an easy decision on Marys part. But when I consider the circumstances, the hardship of the journey not to mention all she’ll do after her arrival ( house work, errands, laundry, and etc. ) I begin to see the sacrificial spirit at work in Mary. When she comes to her cousin Elizabeth is overjoyed. Not just for the help, not even for the arrival of one she loves, but because of the stirrings in her heart. She recognizes the mother of her Lord. So does her baby, little John. The joy is boundless, coming from God and shared with Elizabeth, the as of yet unborn John, Mary, and no doubt Jesus as well. Considering the tight family bonds this seems easy, and it probably was. How easy would it have been if they hadn’t loved each other? What joy would they have found in that meeting?

Prayer: Mother Mary, please help me love my neighbor. Especially those I find it difficult to love.

Published in: on March 17, 2012 at 10:16 am  Comments Off on Part 2: The Second Joyful Mystery, the Visitation  
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